The Benefits of Getting Started with Google Analytics
If you haven’t read our previous blog post, GA4 is the New Era: Google Announces New Analytics Platform, let’s get you caught up.
In October 2020, Google rolled out a new iteration of the Google Analytics Platform called Google Analytics 4 (GA4). And although it’s like the old Analytics platform, Universal Analytics, there are some differences in the way it will report and track data.
Universal Analytics, the old platform, tracks cookies and was built for a generation of online measurement on a desktop.
GA4 will be more updated to keep up with the rapidly changing online arena. GA4 operates across platforms that do not rely exclusively on cookies, such as apps, and will use an event-based model.
Now that you are caught up, let’s get to the new stuff.
First and foremost, all Universal Analytics properties will stop processing new hits on July 1, 2023 and cease to exist. With GA4 being the new standard, it is important to note that it is a complete rebuild from Universal Analytics. GA4 is no longer an evolution of the platform, but a brand-new product. Universal Analytics has been around for 7 years, so the new form of Analytics will require learning an entirely new platform.
That’s where we can help! Let’s get you started using Google Analytics 4.
To start using GA4, you will need to set up an account with Google Analytics.
To do this, go to analytics.google.com and create your business account.
Once your account is set up, you will need to get the Analytics tag from your account and place it on your site to start collecting data.
When creating an account, Google prompts you to create a GA4 property, which should help you navigate to the newest analytics platform. For a step-by-step guide on where to find the tag and how to install it, check out Google’s Help Guide.
We highly recommend setting up GA4 as soon as possible as Google does not pull ANY past data from Universal Analytics. The sooner you set it up, the more date history you will have!
Google Analytics has also set up a few demo accounts for you to use, so you can familiarize yourself with the new platform, understand how to view and access data, and show data from websites and apps!
Find out more about how to use the GA4 Demo Accounts here.
Benefits of GA4
As a reminder Google Analytics 4 will use event-based tracking. There are some added benefits to this tracking mode:
- More Meaningful Data
- More Flexibility in Describing Data
- Cross-Platform Reporting
- Automatically Collected Data
- Enhanced Measured Events
- Recommend Events
- Custom Events
- Machine Learning
- Data Visualization
- Predictive Insights
Now that you know how to get started and have an overall understanding of the benefits of using Google Analytics 4, let’s take a step back and look at the impacts of switching over
Making the Switch
When making the switch to GA4 from UA, it is important that you backup your existing data from UA. UA will cease to exist in July 2023, so you will need to download, backup, and store your data history.
Backing up past data history in Google Analytics:
- Back up any data history from UA
- Download all reports from UA
- Create Spreadsheet of UA data history
Once you have stored your analytics data history, you will need to set-up your GA4 account as soon as possible. As we mentioned, Google Analytics will not be taking any past data history from UA and implementing it into GA4 – the sooner you set this up, the more data history you will have.
Setting Up GA4:
- Set up Google Analytics account for your business
- Find the GA4 Tag Copy & Paste
- Place GA4 tag on website to start tracking data
Now that you have backed up your data and set-up GA4, you will be able to start gathering data history in GA4. You’ll then be able to compare it with the data you backed up from UA when it’s time to start making future marketing decisions.
GA4 is the Next Generation
GA4 is the next generation of analytics, and we encourage you to focus on getting a feel for the platform and its data reports. As mentioned, GA4 will enable your business to measure traffic and engagement across your apps and websites providing you a new analytics tool that can grow in this ever-changing digital landscape.
If you are looking for a more in-depth training on using Google Analytics, check out their free Analytics Academy courses to help you learn about how to use Google’s measurement tools and utilize them to grow your business.
You got this!
Stay tuned for our next Google Blog where we focus on what data to report using both Universal Analytics and the new analytics platform, GA4.